Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for March, 2008

In light of all the recent discussion about the “framing” of the Expelled! expulsion, it occurs to me that maybe part of the reason that the argument seems so unproductive is that the parties involved haven’t really agreed on what, exactly, they’re trying to communicate to the public at large. Here’s my suggestion for a…

Of all the Looney Tunes characters, I was never a fan of the Roadrunner. (I liked Wile E. Coyote well enough, and wish him well in his lawsuit against the Acme Company.) However, there was one Roadrunner cartoon where the focus pulls back from the eternal struggle between coyote and prospective dinner and shifts instead…

For those who have been following the activities of “animal rights” activists, including their attacks of the homes of researchers — and the reticence of the public in the face of such violent attacks — a recent Commentary in Biological Psychiatry [1] will be of interest. In it, a number of scientists call on their…

Science and belief.

Given that in my last post I identified myself as playing for Team Science, this seems to be as good a time as any to note that not everyone on the team agrees about every little thing. Indeed, there are some big disagreements — but I don’t think these undermine our shared commitment to scientific…

Maybe you heard the news that PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins went to a screening of the documentary Expelled! in Minneapolis, except that, because he was recognized, PZ Myers was barred from the screening (despite having signed up ahead of time like the other attendees). Here’s the New York Times story, and Greg Laden has…

Having recently posted on

Do you ever suspect that kids save their best questions for just before “goodnight” as a delaying tactic? Or is there some other plausible explanation for a kid regularly entering into deeply interesting territory on the way to dream time? Dr. Free-Ride: Sweet dreams. Elder offspring: Why are feet ticklish?

Well, light can still escape the gravitational pull of my world, but it does feel like it’s getting noticeably smaller. Three recent data points:

Since March is Women’s History Month, I thought it might be appropriate to recognize some women who were a part of my history — namely, the women who taught me chemistry and physics. (This shouldn’t be interpreted as a slight against the women who taught me biology — I simply don’t remember them as well…

Following up on an earlier post, I wanted to say a little about the Synopsis Championship that took place last week. It’s sort of a judge’s-eye view of the fair — from a very enthusiastic and impressed judge.